Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Halloweenie

There’s a pointy-clawed, chompy-fanged monster in my house!

The night before a September wedding gig, I sweet talked my husband into taking me to the Humane Society . There was a photo on the adoption page of a little black kitten with the biggest ears you ever saw. His name was Mr. Bingley. And he needed a home.

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At 6:30 the following morning, I was making boutonnieres and kitty was frantically tangling himself up in the top of our kitchen curtains. I wondered if there may have been some poor decision-making on my part.

Mr. Bingley has become quite the little bruiser since then. His ears don’t seem as comically big, and I can’t count as many of his ribs, but he would like to inform you that he is literally starving to death at all times. Please call the SPCA.

When he isn’t screaming at the cupboard where we keep his food, he enjoys standing up on his back legs to try and eat socks, sandwiches, and the strings of your hoodie. He plays fetch with gerbera straws and paper balls. His arch-nemesis is the red laser pointer. His interests include the toilet, the garbage, and- after investigating these items- sticking his paws in your face. His true purpose in life is to get into the flower studio and unspool all the ribbons.

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Naptimes are 9:00 am to 11:00am and 2:00pm to 4:00 pm. Crazy Cat Time (aka ‘run and jump everywhere, claw and bite everything’) is 9:00pm through whenever you hope to go to bed and sleep.
He will frequently arch his back and do a meow-smile that makes him look exactly like a Halloween decoration. He will this zero times if there is a camera around.
Also not pictured- cuddle time when it’s especially cold or you’re having a bad day. I guess we’ll keep the little jackass around.

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In other local news:
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Doc says my wrist is good to go! Special thanks to Dr. Lau and the good folks in orthodpedics at Hotel Dieu. Hip hip hooray, let the physio begin…

Just in time to face down one of the greatest challenges on the florist calendar: the big December 2-4, the C-word itself. I’m not a Christmas in October kind of girl, but the more I work out my plans and designs, the more excited I am about the season.

Think Silver and Gold. And birch and moss and and lotus pods. Cinnamon sticks, orange clove pomanders, and cookies…pinecones and rosehips and painted branches…wreaths and swags and centerpieces, oh my. The whole studio smells of eucalyptus, pine, cloves, and cinnamon.

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You’re welcome to order and talk Xmas any time. I’m ready for early holiday gifts and parties. There will be sneak peeks, but I’d like to hold off on major advertising and announcements until Nov 11 to show respect for our veterans.

Nov 12? Showtime! (Anyone remember that? From Beetlejuice? Anyone?)

Happy Halloween!

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Filed under actually not flowers, Day-to-day, Good People, Holidays

Claire and Joel 28.09.2013

Claire and Joel were married in Gananoque on the sunniest late-September day you could ask for.
From our first meeting, Claire wanted a clean, simple look for her wedding flowers (Professional tip: write ‘NO DANGLERS’ in your notes and underline it a couple of times whenever a bride is aiming for this style.)

One of my favourite things about being a wedding florist is seeing how my contribution fits into the day as a whole- I’m like a kid at Christmas waiting for photos a few weeks after the event itself.

Well today’s the day! I thought Niche Photography did such a great job of capturing the simplicity and sheer happiness of this day.

Click to see their album on facebook:

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They captured perfect echoes of black, white, and red in the outfits, decor and architecture, made everything feel not-posed, and used such clean composition and innovative ideas in their shots (That phone-camera-within-photo? Genius!)

Thanks for sharing your gorgeous work, Niche Photography,

and congratulations and many happy years to Claire and Joel!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

PS. Niche is on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Niche-Photography/134633456576434

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Filed under Good People, Wedding

0 days without a workplace injury

Actually, it didn’t happen on the job,

but I did manage to fall and crack a couple bones in my right hand the other week.

Fortunately, my ER-issue white plaster cast has come off, and I am rocking a high-tech velcro splint- the cracks are tiny, and I should be back to normal in a month or so. Still…guess who’s right-handed? This graceful ballerina right over here.

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Fleurs haven’t been as much of a difficulty as writing cards and trying to do my hair- and typing! The week leading in to Thanksgiving was actually pretty productive,  I even  created one of my favourite pieces to date: a centrepiece of red hot chilli peppers, burgundy dahlias, yellow spray roses, rose hips, rosemary… and I couldn’t resist adding some sage! I just became too frustrated with two-finger chicken peck typing, and wasn’t up to photoshopping  and blog-posting .

So here’s a little show and tell…sorry for the photo quality…Hard to hold the old camera steady, and I’m a fairly poor photographer as-is 😛

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PS. Happy belated Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for my family, friends, and clients who helped out: tying ribbon, writing cards, driving, and accepting a slower turnaround time on orders and invoicing.

PPS. Mr. Bingley wants you to know he is extremely helpful, too.
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Keep eating those turkey and tofurkey sandwiches, my fellow Canadians… and a happy Thursday to all!

Yours sincerely,
Old Southpaw, aka Stumpy the one-armed bandit

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Big vs Small

On the left: grocery store sunflower  On the right: Sunflower from my  wholesaler

On the left: grocery store sunflower
On the right: Sunflower from my wholesaler

This morning, a customer ordered a bouquet of pink flowers for his wife.

I have fall colours in at the moment, with a few purple and burgundy blooms, so I asked if we could wait until tomorrow when my wholesaler will come through town again. The customer was fine with this, but I wasn’t satisfied that I had put him off for another day… so what did I do?

I went to the grocery store.  “I’ll buy a couple of fresh market bunches, take them all apart, cherry pick some of the best pink blooms and use them with what I have in stock”, I thought to my clever self.    Wham bam, service with a smile a whole day early- clearly I will be the next Martha Stewart.

Looks ok at first...

Looks ok at first…

As it turns out,  I did not become CEO of a multibillion dollar media company.  I am going to order from my wholesaler and wait until tomorrow after all, but like them science types will tell you– you learn just as much from a failed experiment as a successful one.

The gentleman in line ahead of me was telling the floral department staff that he used to buy all his flowers from a local florist, but now he just comes to the grocery store instead of paying an arm and a leg. I debated whether or not to say anything, and then wondered why I was hesitating to talk about flowers with other people who clearly love flowers.

“I agree with what you’re saying about pricing,” I told them. “I run a small flower studio myself. The prices here are close to what I pay wholesale– I just don’t have the buying power of a national chain.”  We all chatted flowers for a bit. Both the customer and floral dept worker were incredibly friendly, and  I really enjoyed the conversation with them. (Hey, I work from home.  I usually have conversations with the cat.)  Everyone at that counter was happy with what they got and what they spent on it.

Yours for just one limb +HST!

Yours for just one limb +HST!

There is absolutely no way around it- you will pay more to buy flowers from me than you will pay at a grocery store. It’s simple economics and I don’t think anyone is doing anything wrong: the national chains ship in entire truckloads, and other than wedding orders, I tend to buy my flowers by the armload.  My wholesaler is not going to offer me that kind of volume discount, and  I don’t have loss leaders and other revenue streams like the chain stores.  If I dropped my prices to compete with a grocery store… I probably wouldn’t be able to shop at the grocery store.
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On the way home, I wondered how I can articulate why I charge what I charge:

1.Quality.

Those bunches I bought looked great in the shop; the gladiola and little pink spray roses were fine, but when I opened up my mixed bouquet of Ontario blooms, there were rotting leaves, pale stems, mold blooms on some of the flowers. Because the bunch in question hadn’t been correctly processed, the leaves and blooms left below the waterline had begun to rot, and this was affecting all of the flowers. In all good faith, I can’t send out a single stem from that bunch, no matter how much I like the grower,  colour and variety.

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I don’t want it to sound like I’m slamming the workers at the floral department- because of the volumes they are dealing with, and the setup of their shop, they just don’t have the time to pick open and process each and every bunch of flowers that comes through.

I inspect and process every single stem that I receive.

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2. Delivery service

We will hand-deliver those fleurs for you, and we will figure out a specific delivery window that works with your schedule. I don’t think any of the grocery chains in this part of the country offer floral delivery- definitely someone correct me if I’m wrong!

3. Presentation, design, packaging

You can buy a market bunch (I sell them, too- unprocessed bunches direct from my wholesaler- for diy weddings and for the Lush shop at the Cataraqui Town Centre) for far less than a bunch that has been inspected, processed stem by stem, and arranged especially for you.

When I send out an order for a customer, I don’t just leave it in its plastic sleeve. I select  different flowers and foliage, create a custom design tailored to my customer’s vision and budget, and then package their order with biodegradable cello, tissue, and ribbon. The wrapping, tags, and  cards are an integral part of the presentation.

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To borrow another grocery store department as an example, it’s the difference between picking up a boxed cake from the bakery section, or having one custom made and decorated by a local bakery.

The addition of floral departments to grocery chains has really affected florists in North America.
Obviously I’m pretty biased in favour of ‘shop florist!’
and I try to set myself apart from the chain shops by offering custom designs and seeking out the highest quality blooms.

Some people just want a bunch of flowers. Some people want a custom work of floral art. Fortunately, the floral industry in this town is big enough to serve both kinds of customers.
I’m happy when your flowers make you happy.

I would love to hear what you think about grocery store flowers vs. florists- feel free to leave me a comment, internetland!
Also, feel free to stop by with cake, because now that I’ve mentioned it, I really really want some.
Happy Thursday!

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Filed under Day-to-day, Good People